Summer Fest Food Guide: Best burger, grilled cheese, pizza, dessert and more
Free Press Summer Fest descends upon Houston this weekend. With almost 100,000 concertgoers expected on the grounds of Eleanor Tinsley Park, feeding the masses is one of the top concerns. From sweet to savory and local favorites to out-of-towners, organizers have arranged for a diverse array of options that are sure to keep everyone fueled up for the day's festivities.
While no one's here to judge how someone worked up his or her appetite (dancing, right?), the key is to satisfy one's hunger and get back to the stage. With temps only expected to be in the high 80s, eating a decent sized meal isn't likely to slow anyone down too much.
Find a few suggestions below of what to check out. Or take a chance and try something we've overlooked.
Best Burger, Bernie's Burger Bus
One of Houston's most popular food trucks makes another return to the festival grounds with a full menu of burgers, sliders and fries. Prices are consistent with the truck's regular offerings, too, which means they're high-ish compared to fast food burgers but a pretty solid value compared to what restaurants are charging for burgers of similar quality. Maybe split the order of fries with a friend or two; that amount of salt can't be good for staying hydrated.
Best Hot Dog, Sammy's Wild Game Grill
The eclectic, Washington Ave restaurant known for its wild game dogs is bringing a short menu of customer favorites to the festival. For $9, diners can choose from buffalo, pheasant or duck sausage topped with a range of options and slathered in one of six sauces. Full flavor and one-handed portability: what's not to love?
Best Vegetarian, Hippie Dips
A few of the stands have options for those looking to keep their diets meat-free, but this Kentucky-based outfit has the best mix of options. Entrees include both a caprese sandwich and a vegetable panini. Looking for a snack or something sweet? Fruit smoothies and fruit-filled waffle cones should hit the spot. Carnivores in search of a little retro fun might enjoy the PB&J panini with banana and bacon.
Best Pizza, Pink's Pizza
The inside-the-Loop pizza chain is a festival staple. Expect pepperoni, cheese and more. It won't be as good as it is fresh from the stores, but it will satisfy a craving. With three stands on the grounds, it should be easy to find.
Best Sandwich, Golden Grill
Fresh of its Curry Crawl win, the grilled cheese truck is bringing five of its offerings to the festival. Go classic or add meat in the form of buffalo chicken or carnitas.
Best Dessert, Custom Confections
A veteran of both FPSF and the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo, Custom Confections knows how to please a crowd. Given the heat, the right choice looks to be the signature frosty bite, an ice cream-filled cupcake, but the signature brownie sundae is equally hard to resist.
Best Pre-party, Beaver's
Want to fuel up before the fest? Beaver's is offering 10 percent off its modern comfort food to wristband wearers. The current menu has six (!?!) kinds of mac and cheese on it, which may be a little heavy for a pre-show eating but seems worth noting anyway.
Best After party, Clutch City Squire
Head to this industry hangout after the festival for a nightcap. Anyone wearing an intact wristband will receive $1 off craft and import beers all night. DJ Chingersen will spin an all vinyl set from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m.